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“Horse Agility fosters clear positive communication,” writes Horse Agility Accredited Trainer Heidi Potter in the August/September Holistic Horse cover feature article, “[as well as] improved confidence, and healthy emotional interactions between horses and their handlers.”

Horse trainer Vanessa Bee,, founder of the International Horse Agility Club, has developed not only a progressive system of training that moves horse and handler from work together on the lead rope to free work through, around, and over obstacles, it lays the foundation for the new equestrian sport that is taking the world by storm. Whether you dream of competing your horse and earning points and championship awards, or you simply wish to spend time with other horse people in a fun, exciting, social setting, Horse Agility competitions and “play days” offer an all-shapes-ages-sizes-and-abilities option in a world that has long excluded those who love and own horses, but don’t necessarily want to ride.

“We need to change the way we think about horses and the sports and activities we so often pursue with them,” says Vanessa. She sees no reason the horse cannot enjoy your time together so much, he will choose to “play” with you—over, under, and through obstacles, without a lead rope, even when loose in a large, grassy pasture.

Vanessa Bee has helped spread Horse Agility as an fun and safe horse sport that anyone can learn to enjoy around the world.

Vanessa Bee has helped spread Horse Agility as an fun and safe horse sport that anyone can learn to enjoy around the world.

Hard to believe? Check out the article in the August/September issue of HOLISTIC HORSE (CLICK HERE to view the digital edition) and try Horse Agility for yourself! THE HORSE AGILITY HANDBOOK and HORSE AGILITY: THE DVD by Vanessa Bee have all you need to get started in the sport, including lessons in handling and body language, directions for obstacle and course construction, and information for managing competitions and “play days.”

Be sure to visit thehorseagilityclub.com for information about Horse Agility events in your area.

Live in New England? There’s a Horse Agility Training & Live Competition at the New England Center for Horsemanship in Guilford, Vermont, on August 24th, 2013. CLICK HERE for details.

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Over the past few decades, an evolution in how we go about training horses has encouraged horse owners to spend more time handling their horse on the ground in order to achieve good behavior, mutual trust, and a healthy partnership—before they ever think about getting in the saddle. This has created a generation of horsemen and women perfectly poised to pursue the competitive and social benefits of the sport of Horse Agility.

Thanks to the International Horse Agility Club and its founder, Vanessa Bee, Horse Agility is now the fastest-growing new equestrian sport in the world. Horse lovers from North America, Europe, Great Britain, Australia, and indeed, all over, are discovering the joys and benefits of competing their horse from the ground, over obstacles. The sport is a natural evolution in today’s age of natural horsemanship: fun, exciting, competitive sport with the well-being of the horse in mind.

Vanessa Bee is working tirelessly to bring Horse Agility as an organized sport to new heights, and with her bestselling book THE HORSE AGILITY HANDBOOK and brand new HORSE AGILITY DVD, she provides clear, step-by-step instruction on how to get started with your horse.

Ready to give Horse Agility a try? Here’s how to practice one simple obstacle at home—and as an added benefit, this obstacle helps “bombproof” your horse so you have a more enjoyable and safe partnership, whatever you choose to do together!

Learn how to master The Curtain obstacle in THE HORSE AGILITY HANDBOOK by Vanessa Bee.

Learn how to master The Curtain obstacle in THE HORSE AGILITY HANDBOOK by Vanessa Bee.

Passing Through a Curtain

From THE HORSE AGILITY HANDBOOK by Vanessa Bee

The goal of this Horse Agility obstacle is that the horse trusts the handler enough to pass through a curtain of plastic or fabric ribbons.

 

Equipment

You will need a “curtain” of ribbons at least 4 feet (1.5m) wide supported on a frame at least 7 feet (2m) high. The archway I use is made of push-together plastic plumbing pipe with straight lengths and elbows to create a frame about 7 feet (2m) high by 5 feet (1.5m) wide. Ribbons can be made of plastic or fabric—I’ve used butcher’s shop fly curtains and also had great success with an old shower curtain cut into strips. Be inventive, as long as it is safe. Make each ribbon between 3/4 in and 1 1/2 in (2cm and 4cm) in width and long enough to reach to within 18 inches (30cm) off the ground.

 

How to Do It

 

1. The principles of leading your horse through a narrow gap really come into play here (I teach you the steps to doing this well and safely in THE HORSE AGILITY HANDBOOK). Always start by leading the horse on a lead rope.Begin by making the curtain really easy to walk through: Tie the ribbons back out of the way at first, and as he gains confidence, drop down one or two lengths of ribbon at a time so he slowly gets used to it.

 

2. When the horse is confident about going through the curtain on the lead rope, go right back to the beginning by tying the curtain back and ask him to go through “free” (I teach you how to work with your horse over obstacles at liberty—without a lead rope—in THE HORSE AGILITY HANDBOOK). Again, drop one or two ribbons down at a time. Don’t be tempted to ask your free horse to go through the full curtain straight from doing it on a lead rope. One of the keys to being successful in free work is to make it easy for the horse to do what you ask and build on his success.

 

Common Problems

The main thing that causes issues here is the “solid” look of the curtain, so be sure to work with the curtain open before dropping the ribbons down.

One of the things I’ve found is that a lot of horses don’t like the feel of the ribbons running over their sides and back as they run through the curtain, so you must be careful and keep yourself out of the way when you feel your horse is going to rush. Spend some time away from the curtain touching him with plastic, bags, or ribbons—anything—although be sure you don’t annoy him. You’re getting him used to the fact that the feel of such things isn’t dangerous.

 

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Vanessa Bee, Founder of the International Horse Agility Club, is touring North America in May and June 2013! Check out the International Horse Agility Club website for details. Here’s a current list of scheduled events.

USA

17th-19 May

Horse Agility Training Sessions and Mini Competitions – Colorado with Vanessa Bee

17th May (evening)

Horse Agility Training Evening in Colorado with Vanessa Bee

18th May (evening)

Horse Agility Training Evening in Colorado with Vanessa Bee

25th May

Horse Agility Fun Day in Arizona, USA with Vanessa Bee

26th -27th May

Get Really Good at Horse Agility with Vanessa Bee, Arizona

1st -2nd June

International Horse Agility Clinic in Washington, USA with Vanessa Bee

Canada

7th – 8th June

How to Get Good at Horse Agility with Vanessa Bee

9th – 10th June

How to Get Good at Horse Agility with Vanessa Bee

HorseAgility SetTHE HORSE AGILITY HANDBOOK and the new HORSE AGILITY DVD are available from the TSB online bookstore.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER NOW

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theIHACHorse Agility is the hottest and fastest growing international equestrian sport! Based on the same concepts as the ever-popular Dog Agility competitions, Horse Agility offers horse lovers everywhere the opportunity to put all that groundwork they’re doing to good use, in a fun, active competitive sport. Beginning on a lead rope and progressing to working through and over obstacles “free,” or at liberty, Horse Agility engages the horse in an activity that helps him think and problem-solve while enjoying his training time—step away from all those repetitive longe and roundpen circles! Plus, Horse Agility is appropriate for people of any age or size, and allows those who may not want to ride to spend time with other like-minded individuals in an exciting setting.

HAwDVDNow, as a follow-up to her bestselling book THE HORSE AGILITY HANDBOOK: A STEP-BY-STEP INTRODUCTION TO THE SPORT, founder of the International Horse Agility Club Vanessa Bee brings us an all-new DVD. HORSE AGILITY—THE DVD provides the same sport fundamentals as THE HORSE AGILITY HANDBOOK, but with “real-time” action and visuals to help you further grasp the basic concepts and skills you and your horse need to get started, and get good!

Check out this video introduction to HORSE AGILITY—THE DVD:

HORSE AGILITY—THE DVD will be shipping February 1, 2013. You can preorder your copy now at the TSB online bookstore.

CLICK HERE TO PREORDER NOW

Hey! Did you know that the International Horse Agility Club is a finalist in the Equestrian Social Media Awards? CLICK HERE to check out the Club’s website and then please cast your vote for Best Equestrian Social Network!

CLICK HERE TO VOTE FOR THE INTERNATIONAL HORSE AGILITY CLUB!

CLICK HERE TO VOTE FOR THE INTERNATIONAL HORSE AGILITY CLUB!

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